There's no denying that music doesn't have to be metal to be heavy. Bands like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are masters at weaving slow, instrumental pieces with loud, brash walls of guitar noise and feedback. But where those bands take the slower, melodic route, others opt for a more metallic approach. Pelican and Mono are from different sides of the world, yet their instrumental music is similar.
Both bands employ a hard edge that's mostly missing in standard-issue metal bands and ride the line between metal and what's become known as "post-rock." Mono's latest album, the Steve Albini-produced You Are There, shows the Japanese foursome exploiting the same tried-and-true formula as on their previous releases, yet the new record does a better job of capturing the raw energy of the band live. Pelican, whose 2005 release, The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, has been described as "blissful metal," follows a similar pattern, but what sets this Chicago group apart from the rest of the pack is that Pelican simply rocks harder than its peers.
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Earplugs strongly advised.